Anthony Meredith SJ
Anthony Meredith SJ

Anthony Meredith SJ

I was born on April 12 1936 in Harrow on the Hill, the second son - the first died when a baby. Both parents, Stanley lrving and Helen Josephine Meredith were good practising Catholics as is their daughter, Judith. I was baptised, confirmed and received my first Holy Communion in Saint George's R.C. church Sudbury. Apart from evacuation during the war my first school was non conformist, Byron Court School, and at the age of 11 I attended the Cardinal Vaughan School, Kensington. There I was very well instructed in religion and the classics.

After 7 years there I entered the Society of Jesus as a novice on September 7 1954, spending 2 years novitiate at Harlaxton under the care of Father George Walkerley. I spent about 3 years studying philosophy at Heythrop and then was admitted to Campion Hall Oxford where I took a rather undistinguished degree in Greats (classics). The stress there on the importance of knowing the actual text had a great influence on me, I have never been very good at contextualising. After 4 years in Oxford I was sent off to Stonyhurst for two years regency and rather enjoyed teaching my pupils Latin and Greek. I was lucky enough to have an excellent rector, Fr. David Hoy. Then in 1965 I returned to Heythrop to prepare for ordination and get my S.T.L. (License in Sacred Theology). I was ordained there on July 13 1958.

Shortly after that under the benign influence of Fr. Edward Yarnold I returned to Oxford to begin work on a doctorate. My first supervisor was Dr. Frank Lesley Cross, the editor of the ODCC. I began work on Saint Athanasius but on the death of Dr. Cross I changed course largely under the influence of a very good friend, Colin Macleod to Gregory of Nyssa. My new supervisor was Dr. J.N.D. Kelly and under his somewhat reluctant guidance I finally got a D. Phil with a thesis on the Contra Eunomium of Gregory of Nyssa. After my tertianship in Berlin I returned to Oxford and began teaching and lecturing in Early Christian Doctrine. I remained there, until Fr. Michael Beattie persuaded me, not with much difficulty to come to Farm Street, to help at Farm Street parish and teach at Heythrop, then in Cavendish Square.

Apart from a collection of sermons, entitled Faith and Fidelity, published in 2000 whatever eke I have written either as articles, papers or books has all concentrated upon the Fathers. Although l have since then become intoxicated with Saint Augustine, everything else has been focused on Gregory of Nyssa. This includes The Cappadocians (1995) and Gregory of Nyssa (1999). The last book was published in 2012 entitled Faith and Philosophy in the Early Church.

What is hard is to find out how this modest scholarship can help myself and others to become better people. I also often give Advent and Lenten talks as part of the Mount street Jesuit Centre programme that help me on my way.